Student Government shows ‘Bully’ documentary
SC4 Student Government president Sean Lathrop predicted a turnout of around 50 people for the Student Government’s showing of the documentary ‘Bully’.
Lathrop’s prediction was right on the money. “It was a very successful event, we hit the mark on attendance,” said Lathrop.
A question and answer panel followed the showing of ‘Bully.’ The panel featured three members of the community from different professions: Jennifer Deegan of the Port Huron Prosecuting Office, Lindsey Chopp, a member of the SCCC Child Abuse and Neglect Council, and Fort Gratiot Middle School’s assistant principal, Mark Hanton.
The movie itself featured several different middle school and high school students who were victims of bullying. In most of the cases presented in the film, the school officials did nothing to prevent or stop the various cases of bullying.
Some teachers, in the case of one young girl, even supported it. Mark Hanton felt that this particular case, along with some others in the film, would not be tolerated in the Port Huron Area school district. “The stuff that was happening in the film was ridiculous, I saw about 6 expulsions in those situations. I just thought, ‘that wouldn’t happen,’” said Hanton. “I would hope that schools around here wouldn’t be that extremely bad.”
Outside of the schools in the local Port Huron area, the Port Huron Prosecuting Office takes steps in preventing specific situations that are reported from getting any worse.
“If we do charge juveniles in our community we do have a probation department that will monitor the bullying person and try to put them into a counseling program and get them working with someone,” said Deegan. “If we do see a situation where it’s gotten that rough that they’re in the court system, there are some ways we can get the bullying person some help.”
Although the prosecuting office gets involved in the most severe cases, there are ways to prevent bullying from happening.
According to both Mark Hanton and Lindsey Chopp, one of the most effective ways to prevent bullying is involving the child in a group.
“I think as far as a prevention standpoint what we can do as parents is try to get your kids involved in something,” Chopp said. “Get them to have a passion, get their self-confidence up, and let them know that they’re special. It’s not going to stop someone from hurting them, but it will at least keep them strong and give them a group of friends.”
A member of the audience, Bea Castillo, a teacher of early childhood education, brought her class along with her. “My students were here tonight because this is very relevant,” said Castillo.
One of the recurring excuses used by school officials in the movie was that there was nothing they could do to stop bullying as it happens within the school. Casillo disagreed, “We have the children with us in school 6 to 7 hours a day, and I think it is irresponsible to say there is nothing we can do.”
Castillo, pleased with the movie and the panel, made the event mandatory for her students.
She even instructed them to write papers on it. “This was very worthwhile,” Castillo added before following her students outside.
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